Ryanair reduces losses | BT rises on strategy action
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5pm: BT heads risers on bid talk
BT topped the FTSE 100 risers with investors tantalised by talk of a potential takeover from French billionaire Patrick Drahi and at the other end of the scale house builders slid down as investors weigh up the impact of higher lending costs.
Investors are focused on the Bank of England meeting on Thursday amid expectations of the central bank raising interest rates for the first time since the pandemic.
The FTSE 100 index was 51.05 points, or 0.7% higher at 7,288.62, below the day’s peak of 7,303.89. It marked its highest close in 20 months, aided by gains in most bank stocks and a weaker pound, while Barclays slipped 1.1% after its chief executive stepped down.
10am: Barclays CEO reaction
..more on Barclays
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell says: “In the market there seems to be some regret at the sudden departure of Barclays CEO Jes Staley.
“While the move was almost inevitable given the latest developments in the regulatory probe into the American’s dealings with disgraced financier Jeffery Epstein, Staley’s tenure since taking over in December 2015 has ultimately proved a successful one.”
9am: BT up, Barclays down
BT shares rallied following claims that it will bring forward its cost-cutting programme to bolster its defences against a potential bid by French billionaire and Altice owner Patrick Drahi. Shares were trading up 3.2% at 143.40p.
Altice bought a 12% stake in BT in June for £2.2bn.
Barclays shares fell 1.76% as chief executive Jes Staley stood down in response to the findings of a probe by UK financial regulators into his characterisation of his relationship with convicted sex offender and disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
The FTSE 100 live is 37.32 points higher at 7,274.89.
7am: Ryanair cuts losses
Ryanair said first-half losses fell almost 90% to €48m from €411m during the same period in 2020. Analysts had forecast a loss of €43m.
It posted its first quarterly profit since before the onset of COVID-19, but chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said the Dublin-based airline expects to lose between €100m and €200m for the year to the end of March 2022.
The budget airline, Europe’s largest, carried 39.1 million passengers in the six months ended September, 54% fewer than in the same period of 2019.
7am: Omega signs test deal
Scottish drug developer Omega has signed a partnership agreement with DAM Health to exclusively supply its COVID-19 Antigen tests to more than 100 clinics throughout the UK and Europe.
DAM Health is currently using approximately 200,000 in-clinic COVID tests per month.
Omega has already received an initial purchase order worth in excess of £750,000.
… more follows
Traders in London will have one eye on this week’s meeting of interest rate setters at the Bank of England, while taking their early cue from Friday’s record close on Wall Street and Asia’s strong opening.
The re-election of Japan’s prime minister Fumio Kishida sent the Nikkei 225 soaring by 2.55% overnight.
However, there are worries over the health of the world’s second-largest economy as China’s official services and manufacturing data came in below expectations.
A purchasing managers Index was more positive and settled some early nerves.